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Fill Your Stocking With These 5 Eclectic Sci-Fi, Fantasy, and Horror Shorts

A little girl learns the spooky truth about her mother in Suicide by Sunlight.
A little girl learns the spooky truth about her mother in Suicide by Sunlight.
Image: Vimeo

‘Tis the season for three-hour movies—but we’ve got five shorts that won’t be nearly as demanding on your attention span this holiday season. Two are seasonally-appropriate (including a film that’s debuting on io9!), but we’ve also got vampires, animated animals, and a new episode of spooky web series The Kirlian Frequency for you to while away your time.

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1) The Gifting

Carl Shanahan’s three-minute slice of grim holiday cheer is making its internet premiere right here on io9. Made in just one day, The Gifting imagines just what kind of comeuppance the spirits of Christmas might dole out to a Santa-for-hire who steals gifts from orphans.

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2) Suicide by Sunlight

A stirring lead performance by Natalie Paul (Mr. Mercedes, The Deuce) anchors this Vimeo Staff Pick from director and co-writer Nikyatu Jusu. Set in a world where there are vampires of all races, Suicide by Sunlight follows an African American nurse named Valentina (Paul) who’s also secretly a vampire, and capable of “daywalking” thanks to her darker skintone. That doesn’t mean life is easy for Valentina, as she balances work/being-a-vampire struggles with losing custody of her young daughters to an ex who wants to protect them from discovering anything supernatural about the world—but especially anything supernatural about themselves.

3) Floreana

Four minutes of adorable weirdness propel this animated tour of a facility where humans are learning to live as animals—elephants, parrots, and so on. But as Short of the Week explains, Louis Morton’s short is actually set in a world that’s been devastated by climate change. These people aren’t just having a jolly time pretending to be turtles and seals, they’re actually researching how to fix their broken world. Whether or not you get that from Floreana, it’s still a nifty little film.

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4) Red

Here’s another holiday-themed one...sorta. This irreverent Vimeo Staff Pick from Ritzy Animation (direction is credited to “Two Jeffs”) takes a look at a former champion reindeer who’s fallen on some hard times—but is determined to return to his former glory before December 25. Cue the training montage!

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5) The Kirlian Frequency: “Bilder’s Escape”

We’ve been fans of animated web series La Frequencia Kirlian (also known as The Kirlian Frequency and Ghost Radio) since it debuted back in 2017, and we were thrilled to see its first season pop up on Netflix earlier this year.

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Now, creators Cristian Ponce and Hernán Bengoa have paid a return visit to the mysterious town of Kirlian, where a late-night radio DJ takes calls from the supernaturally distressed—including the main character in “El Escape de Bilder,” who’s either a patient or a prisoner at a very strange hospital.


For more, make sure you’re following us on our Instagram @io9dotcom.

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Thank you for running this site on Christmas. Hope all of the electrons find their proper locations.